So, what about the children? When the Israelites went a-slaughterin', they also killed all the children. What does our apologist have to say?
Small children did not share the guilt of their parents.
No, but god had them share the same fate anyway.
The Bible describes small children as not knowing right from wrong (Is 7:15-16) [ed. note, this passage is a reference to Immanuel, not children in general], and in some cases, this meant that they were spared the earthly punishment their elders received.
Which is pure conjecture. There's nothing about an age of accountability in the Bible.
The Bible also clearly teaches that one person is not held guilty for another's sin (Ezek 18). Therefore, the children who were killed would not face the same punishment in the afterlife as their parents.
Tell that to all the descendants of Adam and Eve (all of us) who are held as sinful by nature because of their actions. And, let's not forget Ex. 20:5 and 34:7, Deut. 5:9, 23:2, and 28:18, Num. 14:18, 1 Sam. 3:12-13, 2 Sam. 12:14-15, etc.
Why were the children killed, if they weren't guilty? Apparently, they were considered as morally neutral, since they weren't yet old enough to be held accountable or to have done much right or wrong. While not as corrupt as their parents, they were part of the society that was judged, and shared its earthly (though not its eternal) fate.
Again, there's no support for an age of accountability in the Bible.
Couldn't the children have died painlessly?
One would think so...I'm betting the answer from our "loving" god is, "No."
Why didn't God translate the children into heaven instead of having them die by the sword? Since the children lived in a world affected by sin, they faced its earthly consequences (Rom 5:12-14).
And, here is where we blame the victims. The Earthly consequences that the children had to face (brutal death) were imposed by god himself. So, the argument here is that god was fine in doing this because he set up the world to require this brutal death and then carried it out. And, somehow it's the humans caught in his sadism that are to blame?
Only a few righteous people were translated into heaven, namely Enoch (Gen 5:24, Heb 11:5) and Elijah (2 Ki 2:11). As noted above, since the children had not shown themselves to be righteous, they were not spared the common fate of death.
Sorry to all the newborns, but you haven't acted like a saint yet. Oh, so sorry.
It's worth noting that being killed with a sword (perhaps beheaded) was at the time one of the quickest ways for the children to die (as opposed to suffocation/strangulation, starvation, disease or being torn apart by wild animals - see Ex 23:28-29).
Oh, so that makes it OK?
And, this raises quite a few problems. If killing children is good because they get to go to heaven, then why is abortion or infanticide considered bad? Why would the author claim that god was enraged at child sacrifice if it sent those children to heaven? Why would god be enraged by them killing children if he was going to kill them anyway (possible answer is that he was mad that the humans killed the children before he had a chance to).
And, how is that fair, equitable, or just to kill children before they have a chance to sin? For all of us who have grown beyond the age of accountability, we all have sinned and now need salvation. Children that die early get to go straight to heaven without the chance of sinning and ending up eternally tormented in hell.
Finally, does this excuse god's actions? Either it does, but then god is convicted on other accounts (unfairly sending others to hell) or it does not. I actually lean to the latter, because he still ordered the Israelis to put children to the sword. He couldn't do it himself, no he had to have others do his dirty work, using pain and violence when he could have snapped his fingers and avoided pain, evil, and violence. god is still not absolved of his crimes against humanity.
Other posts in this series...